When I went to choir and it was fine – Anna Spargo-Ryan

When I went to choir and it was fine

When I went to choir and it was fine

Some of the smallest things I accomplish take the most work.

Like tonight, Georgia had an open choir rehearsal, which meant all the parents could come along and listen. I lost my head about it all day: this is the kind of thing a kid will remember you not coming to, your mother didn’t go to your choir things and look at all the therapy you’ve had, you will let down every person in the world if you don’t go. As you might imagine, by 5:30pm I was crying in my bed like this:



(Don’t judge me; I’m growing out my fringe.)

I was under no illusion that I would make it to the choir rehearsal or ever again have a relationship with my daughter. Gaz and I sat in the car and I made strange hiccuping noises and said I caaaaaaaan’t a lot, so we drove around the block a few times because sometimes it helps to pretend you might actually do something.

Then my dad came around, because evidently this was now a huge ordeal and I needed multiple people to hold my hand, and we all sat in the car for a bit longer and I went No seriously I caaaaaaan’t. The two of them tried to trick me by telling me we would just go to the supermarket. I was wise to their game, but I humoured them and we went to the supermarket. Then I humoured them some more and went to the pub, where I had a small meltdown because no one would let me play the pokies.

But after that was over, I pushed on and we eventually made it to choir. We were 20 minutes late, and I thought I was going to pass a kidney stone, but Georgia didn’t notice. She sang, and we sang along (we were asked to, I wasn’t just being that creepy parent who is living vicariously through her child’s accomplishments, although I guess that could have been a small factor). Afterwards I felt like a million bucks, what with having gone less than 5 kilometres from my house (mostly just floating on a river of tears), so we all went out for dumplings.

The chasm between how it feels to succeed and how it feels to fail is monstrous. To fail means to disappoint everyone (mostly yourself), and next time to feel the fear again, and again. The brain is surprisingly quick when it comes to establishing routines, and if you give it a reason to think that ‘being afraid’ is the routine, that’s what it will do. On the other hand, whilst succeeding can be horrifying while you’re doing it, because what if you suddenly just fall off the world and into space, it’s about three steps forward. It isn’t just about succeeding that time, but also about pushing through a fear and demonstrating that you can do it, so that next time you try to, you’ve set a precedent. Precedent is everything in an anxiety disorder, whether good or bad.

“I failed to do it last time (and so I’ll probably fail again this time)” is the life blood of the anxious mind, but it settles in to “I succeeded last time” fairly quickly too, if you can find a dad who is willing to tell you ugly things that you don’t want to hear but need to, or just someone who can drive you while you close your eyes.

So I am not dreadful after all, at least not for today, and that’s about as far ahead as I can plan these things anyway.

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